Alter Aeon Overview
Alter Aeon is a RPG fantasy Multi User Dungeon (MUD). You sign onto the game using a MUD client of your choosing, and play the game through your MUD client by inputting text commands to control your character. Though the game is in a sense text based, it is not without sounds. There are plenty of MUD clients which come with sound packs specifically made for Alter.
Alter Aeon Development and Activity
Alter is a game created and actively developed by Dentin. There is also a list of admins who work on map development and coding as well. Some of The most active are Mutt/Frak, Valront, Draak, Shadowfax, and Morpheus.
Alter is one of the most developed accessible games anyone can play. There are updates every weekend, sometimes both on Saturday and Sunday. This also means the game is always changing, and that can be it's own frustration at points, but it is always better to have an actively developed game verses a dead one.
You can always expect some sort of seasonal events to be happening at least once a month on Alter Aeon. Some players would like to see events with a more substantive reward for participation, but nevertheless if you like random events, you won't be let down with Alter.
Free vs Paid
Alter is 100% free to play, and there will never be a need to pay money to play the game. That being said there are certain things you can purchase to make your gaming life easier. Things like storage lockers, weightless containers, clans and clan upgrades, and all sorts of other things. There are also cosmetic upgrades you can buy like new name strings for equipment, and clan decoration mobs. All of these are completely optional, but certain things like a storage locker and weightless can really make the game more enjoyable.
The biggest downfall of the purchase options is the gold for real money conversion. You can buy gold with credits (1 credit equals 1 USD cent), and this can have the feel of pay to win. Not many people do this, but those who do are easy to spot. Other than that generally the game is pretty balanced when it comes to free vs paid. As long as it is understood some things you can purchase will give you a more enjoyable experience.
Alter is a RPG game, but thankfully not one where you have to actually role play. You choose your classes which are mage, cleric, warrior, thief, necro, and druid. The chosen primary class will be your main class which you rely on, then your second through sixth classes will be there to support your first class and fill in gaps. Having your character put together like this makes for a lot of different character options, and that isn't even mentioning the different trainable stats of strength, intelligence, wisdom, constitution, dexterity, and charisma.
There are over 500 unique maps in game all with different types of NPCs. Some maps are made for you to explore and fight on by yourself, while other maps are made for groups of 4, 6, 7, 8, and up member groups to cooperate on. If you like teamwork then you will not be disappointed with Alter Aeon. That being said, there are still a lot of options for a solo player, even if those seem to be shrinking as time goes on, they are still there and available even when you are up to 150 total levels.
Outside of combat, there is a hugely detailed and complex crafting system. You can make armor for any body part, or any type of weapon, all with items you have mined, smelted, or foraged for on your own. At lower levels these can either be really great, or really bad. It takes some time to get use to the crafting system, and to learn all the skills involved with it. There are multiple crafting branches such as wood crafting, bone crafting, lapidary, gem cutting, forging, jewelry making, and working with dragon hides. This is not all there is though, you can still do stuff like potion brewing, salve making, brewing tinctures, scribing scrolls, soul smithing, and much more. If you enjoy crafting then you'll be quite happy with the detail put into the crafting systems here.
Though they are not for everyone, there are also what seems to be an uncountable amount of quests and jobs. Quests are a one time thing, but jobs refresh every 6 hours, and there are different types for almost every type of NPC shop in alter. You can get butchering jobs, fishing jobs, wood gathering jobs, priest jobs, cartographer jobs, and who knows how many more different types. With quests you get a good quest chain from the very start that takes you through the first three nooby islands at a very reasonable rate. You'll level quite fast, and as you level the game will point you towards new maps to match your level, all as part of the greater quest chain that is there to help the new player learn the game.
With alter being around for over 25 years now, there is a lot of content. More content that can be listed in a simple overview of the game. If you like truly massive multi player role playing games then you will enjoy alter. Even if you are like Smoke and have actively avoided muds your entire life, you may be surprised just because of the sheer size of Alter Aeon.
The Alter Aeon Community
The community for Alter is overall a positive, with plenty of people willing to help a new player learn the game. You will find yourself connected to lots of channels at the start, these are meant to give you a place to ask for help. Normally people are quite friendly on the noob channel, and you can get most questions answered there.
Though the Community is an overall positive, there are definitely some issues you can run into. A lot of the admins will assume you have a severe learning disability if you are having issues with stuff on the mainland, or higher third island quests or maps. For this reason it's sometimes best to not engage with the admins or other players on a lot of topics. A lot of the time it depends on the attitude of the particular admin you are talking with at that moment in time, and that's a risky gamble sometimes. Dentin has always seemed to be respectful and decent with the players, but everyone knows admins can be a bit touchy about certain topics, even when no offense is being given.
The randomness of admin attitudes isn't a deal breaker though. You can always turn off all your channels and enjoy a peaceful and quiet gaming experience if it happens. There are some real characters who have been around for a long time, and they are almost always willing to help out if they can. This makes the community an overall plus. There are worse ones out there, and there are better ones out there, Alter falls solidly in the middle shaded towards good.
Note: the purpose of this section was not to say bad things about the game's admins. They have a hard job to do, and overall they do a great job. The game wouldn't be where it is without the crazy amount of work put in by the admins. The point is to give you the player a heads up that from time to time you may be taken back at the random pushback you get over what you view as a simple thing. The point of BSG is to give an honest take, and that is the honest take.
What Makes Alter Aeon Unique
Due to the complete lack of mud coverage on this site, not much can be said about alter compared to other muds. What does make it unique from a purely gaming perspective is the insane amount of updates. The admins are always working on updating, tweaking, and making the game better. Because of this constant improvement the game is always changing and getting better. This is quite an accomplishment after 25 years, to see it still growing and improving every week.
The sheer size and scope of the game is refreshing for those who enjoy a massive game. There are not many massive multi-player accessible options out there, but this is definitely one of them. The fact that alter is a mud seems to be a turn-off for many, but it is worth getting over that hold-up to be able to play an accessible game that's so full featured. Even when it comes to muds, it has to be one of the largest and long lived options still available and actively being developed.
Bugs & Issues
There is a remarkably low amount of bugs in Alter. Normally when one is successfully reported it is fixed rather quickly by an admin, meaning with the next weekend reboot. The issue some players have had in the past is getting the admins to understand something is actually a bug when it clearly is to everyone but the admin. This can be an exercise in frustration, but if it is important enough it eventually gets fixed either way. No one on the BSG crew has experienced any game breaking bugs, or anything that has a true negative impact on the ability to play or enjoy the game. All experienced bugs have been small, and commonly fixed. The only exception is the monastery dreamers quest which will not remove it's self from the quest list after it is accepted for the second time, but that is hardly a game breaker, it is just very annoying.